UCSummit 2012

by Dave Michels

This week is the UC Summit in La Jolla, CA.

This conference is all about the UC Channel, how it’s changing and what to benefit from the changes. What’s interesting is almost every major vendor has stated initiatives to expand their channel. This is for various reasons, but mostly because they want more sales. The channel partners also want more sales, but aren’t looking to the vendors so much as the solution. The rule are changing – with a few exceptions, the dealers are adapting faster than the vendors.

This conference is hosted by UCStrategies.com (Blair, Marty, Michael, Jim, Don, Steve, Jon, and Art will all be there seeking my advice -or versa visa). There are a few things that make this conference unique:

  1. Focused on the channel – the primary attendees are industry dealers and consultants. Note, I use the word dealer – I like it better than VAR, but I don’t mean to imply any difference. In fact, I think dealers, SIs, VARs, and even consultants are all merging into near identical roles.
  2. It’s a high network event – that is in between all the sessions, there’s a lot of opportunities to make new friends, or in my case offend and injure. It actually get a bit old as I don’t drink (much), and the UCStrategies gang is really into wines. Lots of great wines (they tell me) – think you use a corkscrew with even.
  3. La Jolla is a nice place and a short flight. There should be more conferences there. I get to go back to San Diego in June for the Mitel Business Partner Conference.
  4. Food – the UCSummit is more fattening than a cruise. If you are looking for me, I’ll be by the buffet.

The presentations are mostly mixed among us “UC Experts” and vendors. Marty and I are doing a session called “Show Me the Money” where we will both give a full critique of “Jerry McGuire” – great performances by Tom, Renee, and Cuba. After we finish are discussion on the film, we’ll spend an hour talking about some big trends in the channel and where the profit opportunities lie. Or is that where consultants lie, I forget. Marty and Blair and I are doing an industry update. Most dealers don’t get the scoop on their competitors – we will highlight strengths, challenges, and new directions for all the major vendor offers. Steve and I (that’s Old Steve), will be running a collaborative session on what needs to change. Hopefully, the attendees will have paid attention when we told them earlier, but just in case they have their own ideas.

I am not sure how this happened – the UCSummit got moved a few months later in the year for 2012 – yet once again the UCSummit takes place the same time as Interop Vegas. Marty and Michael are actually commuting and attending both. I’ve attended the past three Interops and honestly the food just isn’t as good there. The conflict is a bigger problem for the vendors than attendees as Interop isn’t particularly a channel show.

I will do my best to tweet from the show – check out #UCSummit. This will be my first time traveling with an iPad. I wanted to load up some PowerPoints on it, but we’ll save that for another post.